Oklahoma is deep in the throes of another cold, dry winter. Lots of places have it much worse, and ours might not last much longer, but for now? For now we are freezing our southern-midwestern toes off, okay?
Most of us stumble around, bundled up in layers, sipping hot drinks, muttering to each other in low, vibrating voices the details of our coldness. Checking for weather updates is already a secondary hobby for most Okies; in wintertime, it’s all about wind chill and how close we are to freezing.
We become obsessed with our suffering.
And some of us are coping better than others.
I found this article on Bon Appetit’s new “Healthyish” website and loved all of their suggestions. They list nine strategies used by people in the coldest parts of the world, where the arctic air lingers much longer than a couple of months. The list includes tips for diet and exercise, skin care, and more. Lots of applicable wisdom. But in Oklahoma, outdoor recreation is a bit limited because we lack the mountain hikes and the snow silliness. And smoked fish is not a diet staple here, though I suppose it could be.
Anyway. What I’m saying is that winter here is unique. Here are some of the healthy rituals we have been cultivating at the W. Enjoy!
Seven Easy Strategies for Thriving all Winter Long:
- “Eat More Plants, Do More Yoga!” This mantra has guided me since the holidays ended, and already I feel much better. My internal belly feels softer (in a good way) yet toned, my joints feel spacious and comfortable, I think my posture is improving, and my legs and feet are staying happy for running. Yes to a diet based mostly on plants, both raw and lightly cooked! Lots of soups and crazy salads and roasted things happening here. And yes to yoga every single day! If you need some direction there, allow me to suggest the “True” series by Adriene. It is luscious. She is so fun and smart. We love her.
- Be Flexible but Stubborn About Exercise. I’m in marathon training right now, so running keeps me moving almost every day. But my treadmill finally gave up the ghost, so on days when the temps or windchill are well below freezing, I am happy to do other things to stay active. And occasionally some intense layering means Klaus and I can go outside for some raking and compost work in the garden, which is a wonderful way to catch some sunshine. Also, every day no matter the weather, yoga. It makes such a difference!
- General TLC. Thicker body lotions, face oil plus moisturizer containing collagen, and vitamins including iron, D, and magnesium (thanks, Kellie!) have all been helping a lot. Also drinking chamomile tea at bedtime usually guarantees a deep sleep. Otherwise winter is a dry and weary time, wow.
- Cozy Atmosphere. The hygge trend is a good one. It kind of speaks to my natural leanings, anyway. Loading up the house with live plants, dozens of strands of white twinkle lights, throw pillows, and extra thick blankets… kind of a no-brainer. We aren’t really candle people anymore, but I have been using essential oils like cinnamon and orange plus one called “Ananda” for cozy, mildly sweet fragrance. And staying on top of dusting and mopping is a must since we are indoors so much more.
- Read and Write. Actual books and actual pen and paper are slowing me down in wonderful ways. I’ve resurrected a journal and daily gratitude practice and am making my way through a Bible devotional, plus trying to stay focused on good novels even when the seed catalogs pull my attention, ha!
- Games! We have been breaking out the Yahtzee, Uno, Phase 10, and regular playing cards in the evenings. Like old people, sure. But like happy old people who are glad to have a warm home with games to play and television to watch in the background. Gradually I’ve been setting aside my electronics, too, and it is really nice. Speaking of television, are we the only people craving more comedies this season? Maybe because life is pretty dramatic on its own, but we need things to make us LOL.
- Carpe Diem. We watch those weather details (things change hourly) and get outside in the sun every single chance we get. It’s good, even when it’s cold. And when it’s truly unsafe, then we take the opportunity to really hunker down indoors and fully enjoy the hibernation. Before long we’ll be outside all day and late into the evening. Enjoy whatever details make today special!
Truly the underlying theme here is attitude, right? And focus? As always, just frame your circumstances in a way that aims you in the direction you want to go. Nourish each other. Stay cozy inside and out. And remember that winter is only a season. Before long we will be watching green sprout everywhere again, wondering how we could ever give up hope.
“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
~Percy Bysshe Shelley
P.S. please continue praying for our Girl.
God is listening. Miracles are happening.
We remain grateful and hopeful,
but we all still need prayer.
Thank you, friends!